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Friday, 19 October 2012

EATING WITH GUSTO


For my American readers, and I suppose for anyone living outside the UK and for whom English is not their first language, GUSTO is not a type of vegetable, nor is it a sauce. It means "with relish". Oh dear, that doesn't help I suppose. especially if you're American. Okay, eating with GUSTO and eating with RELISH, both mean I bloody well enjoy it!

The 3rd Friday night of every month is always one to look forward because it's when 4 of my friends and I go to a particular location (can't tell you where, or you'd all want to come!) and have a superb meal and a few drinks.
Personally I always seem to have the same... a 10oz ribeye steak (medium rare), chips, mushrooms, a fried egg, onion rings, tomato and a pint of local ale. More chips are brought half way through as are more onion rings and mushrooms (to share with my friends). All that for £10 ($15)! I couldn't buy the ingredients for that! Not only that, but the same place sometimes offers specialities like kangaroo and ostrich steaks, and tonight is offering zebra steaks! I think I'll stick to my ribeye, though I could have the curry, a mixed grill, or a variety of fish dishes. Gosh, I'm hungry! Which brings me onto the point of the blog post.

All last week and this I worked in the kitchens of two teaching establishments. The first was a 6th form college that has over a 1,000 students who eat like they were 6,000. The amount of food preparation is quite unbelievable and yet the quality was great and I ate there every day. I always promised myself I'd have a salad, but I inevitably ended up with fish / meat, chips and vegetables, plus a cup of home-made soup and a mousse to finish. Maybe not the most healthy mix, but incredibly tasty to a growing lad... and me!


This week I've been working at one of the UK's top public schools where the fees are higher than most people earn and the food is therefore expected to be on a par. And it is. Yesterday, for instance, I managed to grab chicken sate with stir fried vegetables in a chinese 5 spices sauce and fried noodles in soy sauce. Stunning! That was followed with an apple sponge pudding that melted in the mouth. Today was something else. Lunch was fish and chips. Not just any old fish, it was an excellent Pollock done in a lovely batter and cooked, not deep-fried. It tasted beautiful, but I only had a small mouthful, bearing in mind the £10 banquet to come later this evening. Unfortunately the desert was a Pavlova I watched the chef prepare yesterday. The meringue had a lovely crust but melted in the mouth. The cream was superb and the fresh summer fruits were to die for. The combination of sharp fruits, bland cream and sweet meringue was too much and I had a bowl.

So it's a hour before we get together and leave for the secret location for tonight's bit of GUSTO and I've got to prepare. Now the next question is.... do I go for kangaroo, ostrich, zebra, or do I stick to my 10oz ribeye. I love making decisions like this!

Blog on, Dudes!

1 comment:

  1. Great: furred arteries here we come!! Apropos of food at public schools - I was visiting author at some of the Girls' Schools finest last year, and you are right: the food is out of this world. At one establishment I was informed that the chef (not kitchen staff) went down to Billingsgate Market every Friday to select the fish. It's life, Rich, but not as we know it.

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